The original Mass Effect may still be priming the DLC buffet for one or two more bites, but that isn’t stopping BioWare from slipping gamers a small dose of its sequel.
The trailer in question can be seen here, and – for those who are deathly afraid of even the remote possibility of a Rickroll and would rather not click that link – not-so-vaguely suggests that Commander Shepard (your main guy or gal in Mass Effect) suffered a quick and clean off-screen death. And a permanent one at that – not simply due to bad camera angles.
But, to be honest, we’re thinking the rumors of Shepard’s death have been greatly exaggerated, mostly because the only other tidbit BioWare’s dropped concerning 2Mass2Furious involves reusing save files from Mass Effect – probably for stat boosts, character profiles, and other such pieces of space bling. Otherwise, BioWare could’ve tossed in a few “So, how about that one guy who saved the universe that one time?” questions, ala Knights of the Old Republic 2, and called it a day.
If you're on the Microsoft Connect testing list for Windows Vista SP2 or Windows Server 2008 SP2, Redmond has just rung the "come and get it" bell - SP2 RC (the same package upgrades both Vista SP1 and Windows Server) was released to MS Connect testers yesterday, Ars Technicareports.
So, what's special about SP2 RC? Some highlights include:
Support for VIA's 64-bit CPU
Integration of the Windows Vista Feature Pack for Wireless, including support for Bluetooth 2.1
Support for writing to Blu-ray media
Integration of Windows Search 4.0
Better and more secure installation experience
Over 690 hotfixes
If you're not among the fortunate few testing Vista SP2 RC, what should you be doing until you can try it? For our suggestions, as well as an early comparison with Vista RC1 (not to mention your chance to sound off), join us after the jump.
Cuba has debuted a new national Linux-based operating system dubbed "Nova." As one might expect, Cuba claims that the move will help the country replace proprietary Microsoft software running on the nation's computers. It almost sounds a little silly, but Cuba makes two noteworthy points as to why it's trying to purge this United States-based software from its networks. Nor is this the first international body that's sought to replace Microsoft software with an open-source alternative.
According to Cuban officials, the switch is more intended to turn away from United States-backed software as opposed to specifically Microsoft. They claim that governmental agencies would be able to infiltrate Cuban systems because they would could to pressure Microsoft to give up its "codes." It's unclear whether Cuba expects U.S. officials to actually hack into Cuban databases, break through encryption measures, or any combination of nefarious activities. Cuban officials also suggest that importing Microsoft software violates the U.S. trade embargo, an explanation for why Microsoft operating systems are allegedly more difficult to acquire for the island nation.
Grab your cigar and click the link to find out just how much Linux adoption Cuba expects to have within five years!
Stanford Professor Byron Reeves is a Planeteer, and you can be one too -- if you’re an MMORPG player. Reeves’ plan hedges its bets on the idea that you’re willing to install a Smart Meter, a device that monitors electricity usage in your house and sends a report of your wasteful excesses to power companies.
However, instead of giving power companies the skinny on your war against the Energizer Bunny, Reeves hopes to send pertinent information to games like World of Warcraft. He outlined his energy-saving plan during radio show Living on Earth’s Green Gaming segment:
"So imagine that you're in your home, you're signed into [the] game… and you make a decision in the game to turn off the lights in an unused bedroom [in real life]. As soon as you do that, the Smart Meter recognizes that, sends the information through the network to your computer and your house [in the game] turns a shade of green that it wasn't before,” he explained.
“And if I'm using less electricity, my team might do well. I get gold pieces and points… whatever the game designers think is fun. You get feedback in an entertainment game about what you're doing in the real world."
Sounds good to us, though implementing it – especially in a game as colossal as World of Warcraft – might be a bit rough. Then again, Blizzard did invent a race of hippie cow-people, so you never know.
If your company releases a browser, you’d hope that your own website would work using said browser, wouldn’t you? Well, it looks like Microsoft has managed to somehow mess that up, with their very own site (among others) on IE8’s incompatibility list.
Among the broken sites are bigs such as Google.com, Yahoo.com, Live.com, Wikipedia.org, Flickr.com and many others. A larger list can be found here.
We’re keeping our fingers crossed that the next update for IE8 is a big one.
With Google having opened Android Market to paid apps, users of the fledgling mobile platform are eagerly looking forward to an inevitable rise in the number of apps. Google, on its part, is trying its best to offer more reasons for Android users to exult.
And exult they will on hearing that the Android Market will let users return any application within 24 hours from the time of purchase. Google has stolen a march on Apple’s App Store by espousing an application return policy.
Also, users will be allowed unlimited reinstalls by Google. If any dispute arises - including billing issues - between a user and a developer, the two parties will have to settle it directly as Google is not interested in playing arbitrator. Another thing Google is not interested in is porn. The Android Market policies expressly prohibit “nudity, graphic sex acts, or sexually explicit material.”
You have to admit, Windows is a pretty barebones operating system, feature-wise. After a fresh install of XP or Vista (perhaps following a Clean Start), you're faced with a barren Start Menu and an empty desktop that's beaming with limitless potential. The problem is that it's up to you to hunt and download those applications that you really need in your day-to-day computing experience. And chances are, it's often difficult to find good software that's also free. That's where this guide comes in.
We've put together a list of what we think are the most essential PC apps for every Maximum PC reader. These are all free programs (except one) that should be immediately installed after a fresh build or reformat; 32 indispensable programs and utilities that we couldn't imagine computing without. From the best IM client to FTP browser and Notepad replacement, these essentials truly enhance the Windows experience (much more so than Microsoft's own Windows LIVE Essentials). We're not saying you'd use all 32 entries in our list on a daily basis, but if you are at all serious about utilizing your PC, we promise our picks will not go unused.
And at the end of the feature, we'll even show you how to install these apps in one fell swoop with a special configuration file we've created. Because if it were up to us, this is software that should be bundled with every copy of Windows.
Nvidia this week released new WHQL GeForce drivers for GeForce 6, 7, 8, 9, and 200-series owners. The new drivers, version 182.06, promise around a 10 percent performance increase in Fallout 3 at high resolution with AA, F.E.A.R. 2: Project Origin, Half Life 2 at high resolution with AA, the insanely entertaining Left 4 Dead at high resolution with AA, and Race Driver: GRID, also at high resolution with AA.
In addition to double-digit performance boosts, Nvidia says its new drivers include full support for OpenGL 3.0 on GeForce 8, 9, and 200 series GPUs and automatically installs the new PhysX software (version 9.090203. The drivers also fix a bug in Vista 32-bit where GeForce 9800 GTX/GX2/GT/GTX+ and 8800 GTS/GT/GS owners experienced a system hang when switching between performance states.
After purchasing a Lenovo PC preloaded with Microsoft's Windows Vista, Emma Alvarado was shocked to learn she would have to pay $59.25 in order to downgrade to Windows XP. She's now taking the matter to court and has a filed a lawsuit against Microsoft.
"Microsoft has used its market power to take advantage of consumer demand for the Windows XP operating system by requiring consumers to purchase computers preinstalled with the Vista operating system and to pay additional sums to 'downgrade' to the Windows XP operating system," the suit alleges.
The suit is an interesting one, though probably an uphill battle for Alvrado to convince a judge that Microsoft is in the wrong. The software maker had originally intended for XP to go the way of the dodo bird at the end of June in 2008, but has since offered more than one stay of execution due to consumer demand. Both Vista Business and Ultimate come with downgrade rights, but it's up to the OEMs to decide if they want to offer it as an option, and if so, for how much. Pricing varies by OEM, which might make Alvarado's claim that Microsoft extended its XP cutoff date because of "tremendous profits" hard to prove in court.
Does Alvarado have a case? Hit the jump and give us your verdict.
Microsoft Internet Explorer is steadily losing ground to other browsers, though there is no immediate threat to its crown. However, Microsoft would be hoping to stymie the slide with Internet Explorer 8.
All eyes are now set on the release of the finished product after a public RC (release candidate) was released on January 26th, 2009.
IE8 comes with the promise of greater performance and reliability. Some of its key features include visual search suggestions, private browsing, accelerators, web slices and monetization opportunities (for OEMs).